The general purpose statement is the goal the speaker wishes to accomplish with his speech. The most common general purposes are to inform, to persuade, to entertain or to pay tribute.
In an informative speech, the speaker wants his audience to learn and retain new information. If his purpose is to persuade, he wants the audience to change their opinions or to take action. Entertaining speeches are intended to be amusing. Introductory speeches are meant to portray another speaker in a positive light before introducing him to the audience. Once the general purpose has been determined, the speaker selects his specific purpose, such as persuading the audience to vote for a particular candidate for political office.